The best screen recorders are perfect for capturing footage from your device - from high-priority meetings to high scores in games.
You’ll find screen capture tools in plenty of video editing software - but if you don’t need a full editor’s suite, a simple screen recorder will usually be best.
Screen recording software lets audiences see what you see. Offering a simple, accessible way to capture desktop activity, they’ve become popular with professional and home users. And their use is on the rise, not just with those recording games and YouTube videos.
In the shift to remote and hybrid working, many businesses are using top screen recorders to save and share online collaborations, presentations, and training with colleagues. For seriously connected companies, these capture apps pair well with online communication tools like video conferencing and presentation software.
There are great screen recorders on Windows 10, Mac, Android, and iOS - and without watermarks (unless you add them yourself). Some are ideal all-rounders, while others are purpose-built for capturing games, or screen recording for low-end PCs and laptops.
To help you decide, we’ve selected the best screen recorders for beginners and professionals, so your audience won’t miss a beat.
What's the best screen recording software?
Camtasia has long been lauded as the best screen recorder. It's been in the video capture game longer than most, offering more features than most too. As well as capturing what's on screen, this fully fledged video editing solution features plenty of extras and edits on top too.
Whatever you want to record, from PowerPoint presentations to games, Camtasia performs well. You're given a huge amount of control over what's recorded. For example, you can strip or include audio, or add a webcam feed. Annotations, extra media files, transitions, titles and more can then all be dropped in with your footage.
Despite all its features, the screen recording software for Windows and macOS never feels too complex, thanks to an intuitive timeline interface.
On the downside, it is expensive, but you can test it out for 30 days for free. For an even simpler alternative that's more affordable, try SnagIt screen capture software from the same developer.
OBS Studio is easily the best free screen recorder - and with good reason: available on Windows and Mac, the software lets you effortlessly blend different sources and audio tracks together, packing in professional-grade features typically only found in expensive, premium capture tools.
Built with gamers in mind, live streaming options feature prominently, but you can just as easily save your recordings to disk. On top of that you get advanced features like noise reduction (for your voiceovers) and the ability to set transitions between your scenes.
All of this is overkill if you just want to record a quick clip – and to the complete beginner, OBS Studio perhaps isn't the best screen recorder. It's not as intuitive to set up or use as some rivals. But you get a pile of fine capture and live streaming features for free, and that can't be beat.
Read our full OBS Studio review.
Icecream Screen Recorder is ideal when you don't need the the hefty feature sets of the likes of Camtasia or OBS Studio. This screen capture software, available on Windows and Mac, is a more compact and friendly alternative - especially for those searching for the best screen recorder for low-end PCs. .
Fire it up, click the record button, select the part of the screen to record, and you're off.
Choosing your recording area and saving your footage couldn't really be any easier, though frankly, it's not the most precise tool. The screen recording software lets you draw on your footage, add a webcam feed, zoom during captures, and select final video quality.
The free version has limits - including a five-minute time restriction. Upgrade to the Pro version to end this, and access more output formats, convert between formats, add watermarks, and schedule screen recordings. All features that can come in handy.
TinyTake is a really simple screen recorder for Windows and macOS. It has all the features you're likely to need, none of the fluff you don't, and it's one of the best screen recorders when it comes to sharing videos and photos with others.
As for the main capturing process itself, once you've created an account (which isn't optional), you can be recording your computer screen in a couple of clicks. Map the area you want to capture, click the start button, and TinyTake effortlessly handles the rest.
And that really is all there is to it. Like Icecream Screen Recorder, it's a great if you're capturing on a low-end PC or laptop.
if you want to add annotations, or record anything longer than five minutes, you'll need to upgrade to the paid-for version of TinyTake. For simple screen recording and easy sharing to places like YouTube, though, it's ideal.
Apple macOS actually comes with some of the best screen recorder tools built in – but ScreenFlow is a serious upgrade on what Apple's screen recording software can do on its own. Plus, it adds plenty of features and extra video editing tools.
With ScreenFlow, you can crop, pan, and zoom around different parts of your video recording. You're free to add annotations and callouts on top of the captured footage. It's a fully featured and intuitive video editor, as well as a comprehensive screen recording app.
As for the actual capturing part, it couldn't be any easier to use. Select your video and audio sources, and away you go. Footage from your webcam can be easily added into your main video, and the whole process is slick and streamlined throughout. A free trial is available.
Read our full ScreenFlow review.
Screencastify is a screen recording browser extension for Chrome - the perfect capture tool if you're running a low-end PC or don't want to install software on your computer.
Just because Screencastify is a Chrome add-on doesn't mean you're restricted to recording browser windows, although you can do that if you want. The tool is able to record in full-screen mode as well, and supports audio from your system or a microphone.
The extension is even smart enough to embed a feed from your webcam as well. On-screen drawings and annotations are supported, too.
So you've got lots of flexibility, even if you don't get quite as many bells and whistles as you do with other programs. To use the screen recorder without a watermark and for more than 10 minutes at a time, a paid upgrade is required.
AZ Screen Recorder is the best screen recorder for Android. It packs with it easy-to-use controls, plenty of recording options, and even a simplified, lightweight video editor if you want to trim down your recordings before sharing them.
That editor isn't nearly as comprehensive as, say, mobile video editor Adobe Premiere Rush, but it's a nice touch that lets you truly capture and edit videos on-the-go.
Everything is handled with a little pop-up window that disappears when you start recording. You have the option to illustrate screen touches, and include microphone audio capture too, depending on what you need from your Android screen recording.
Delve into the settings and you can adjust the video recording resolution, frame rate and orientation. There's even an option to add a timelapse effect - particularly useful during video tutorials. It's got just about everything you could want from a screen recorder on Android.
Record it! is one of the best screen recorders for iOS devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and iPods. What makes it even better is, it's available as a free download from the app store.
The screen recording app is surprisingly good considering it's free. As well as recording the whole screen, Record it! can use the Facetime camera to record your face for reaction videos. Additionally there is a video editing option, and sharing available via AirDrop and Open In.
The video editor comes with a small but decent range of features such as the ability to trim your video, add filters, adjust playback speed, change the background, and rotate the image.
Recordings are filed within the app for easy access, but as well as being available to save in your camera roll, there's also an easy export option for uploading to YouTube.
It's ideally suited to devices running iOS 12 or higher for full one-touch functionality. While the main app is free, there is a pro version available as an in-app upgrade which unlocks the sharing of videos more than 3 minutes long.
How to choose the best screen recorder for you
When choosing which screen recorder is best for you, there are five main areas you’ll need to explore.
Identify what you need to capture. Some of the best screen recorders are ideal for a specific purpose - for example, OBS Studio is the best for recording games, but might not fit in the workplace.
Decide which device is capturing footage. While most desktop options have screen recorders for Windows 10 and Mac available, you’ll need to find separate alternatives for iOS and Android.
Work out how much your budget is. Top-end screen capture tools like Camtasia offer professional-grade recording and features, but those perks come at a premium.
Many of the best screen recording software tools let you annotate, add text and cursor actions. Others come loaded with video editors. Find which has the tools you need included. Always check which parts of the screen can be recorded, and the output resolution and format.
The best screen recorder is the one you enjoy using most - and that’s entirely subjective. Look for the capture app that best fits your workflow, needs, and experience level.
How we test the best screen recorders
Testing the best screen recorders, we start by assessing how well the software performs. During operation, we expect to see the very best screen capture tools running smoothly on the device it’s intended for; exported videos should play perfectly and stutter-free.
We evaluate how closely the screen recording software meets the needs of its target user-base. Those looking to record meetings have different requirements to Let’s Play-ers, and the software should be designed with those users in mind.
User experience, and the interface, is important. It’s about finding a balance between powerful features and intuitive use.
More complex recording software, like OBS Studio, should be accessible, even if the learning curve is steep, while streamlined tools like Screencastify and TinyTake should still properly record footage, even if the interface is simple or sparse.
The best apps also pack in plenty of features, to help craft professional-looking videos. We’re not simply looking for the largest toolset - users expect the largest useful toolset, with features that help them achieve their goals. Again, these should be clear and accessible to all users, and function above and beyond what’s expected.